I should’ve eaten the Cajun Squirrel flavour instead

I had a fun Good Friday. Lunch at Swatow’s, iced Doubleshot at Starbucks’ (or Starbies as I like to call it — I’ve spent enough money there to feel like I’m entitled to give the place a nickname), then a quick streetcar ride to the Beaches where I bought the worst tasting bag of chips I’ve ever eaten.

The SBC (Sweet Baby Cat — again, he’s my favourite person on the planet, I feel I can refer to him with my very own special nickname) stopped into the Nutty Chocolatier on Queen East to look around and breath in the heady chocolate fumes. The  shop also stocks plenty of British brands of snacks, chocolate bars, biscuits, baked beans, and crisps (chips to the average North American. Just to be confusing, the Brits refer to french fries as chips. I don’t know what french fries mean to the British — sunburned French people? Naw, I hear there’s not enough sunshine in England for a sunburn.). Unwisely, I decided to buy a bag of crisps that were on display. Unwisely only because the flavours on sale were part of some contest being held by Walkers’, so there was not a single bag of cheese and onion — how cruel. 

I picked this out of the lot:

How can I describe the flavour? Some chips had a malt vinegar and salt flavour (well, duh) and others were fried fish tasting (again, duh), but the off putting chips were the ones that tasted like batter. The problem was on their own the chips flavoured crisps were good, the fish flavoured crisps were a bit too fishy but not unexpected, it was the bland batter crisps that added a weird tone that overwhelmed me since there seemed so much more of them than either the chips or fish flavours. It was like eating a bag of cold batter. 

During and after sharing the crisps with SBC all I could think was “I should’ve bought the Cajun Squirrel flavour”. At least I have no idea what squirrel tastes like, and Cajun would probably have been the dominate seasoning anyway, and I like Cajun. Next time, squirrel.

Here’s a bonus photo of Toronto yesterday. It’s Old City Hall taken behind the rink/fountain at Nathan Philips’ Square (or new city hall — but no one calls it that).

Aw heck, here’s a photo of Nathan Philips Square I also took  yesterday. Just so you can compare it to Old City Hall above. The architecture is quite different, yet the size of the square sets NPS off to the side and above it so you don’t sit there and go “huh, they don’t look alike or match”. This way the two styles don’t mock one another and we’re constantly comparing them. 

Now, go enjoy your Easter weekend. Eat chocolate and don’t touch the fish and chips flavoured crisps. Think cajun squirrel!!


Happy Easter

So this is the first batch of Easter eggs I’ve ever dyed. And I mean on my own, rather than say the eggs I dyed as a kid with supervision from a mature adult.

They’re not bad. I am missing some kind of dying trick because they are rather pale eggs. I followed the directions on the box of dyes and this is what I got. I did check Martha Stewart’s site but I have to admit that decoupaging my eggs held no attraction. Neither did wrapping up the eggs in lace before dropping them in dye. Or onion skins. And I definitely don’t have the patience to go the hot wax and stylus route.

Nope, simple swim in the dye it was.

Still, I’m impressed with myself.

Fresh Baked Flatbreads

Today I felt like eating warm, home baked bread. I also wanted the bread to be soft and fluffy, but flat similar to a pita so I can save the rest of the uneaten bread for lunch.

I made this:

Bread is easy to make. I started with 1 cup of warm water, 1 teaspoon of yeast, 1 teaspoon of honey, and 1 cup of flour (I used a blend of whole wheat and white). Stir all together in a bowl. Let sit for half an hour. I let my handy dandy Kitchenaid mixer to do the hard work for me. I use this spare time to fan myself and drink Tom Collins.

So, I put the mixing bowl onto the Kitchenaid and added 1 teaspoon of salt, another cup of flour, and started the mixer. When the flour is incorporated I turn off the spinning dough hook (very important if you want to unbroken fingers) and check to see how wet the dough is so far. I wanted a moist dough so the bread would have a rustic holey kind of texture. The dough was sticky and wet — too sticky and wet so I added 1/4 cup of flour and turned the dough hook on again. Now and then I’ll check the dough to see if it’s the way I want, and add an extra 1/4 of flour. Basically it’s still sticky but elastic. If I was making pizza dough I would add more flour until the dough was smooth and elastic. 

I prepared a bowl to hold the dough while it rises. I rubbed a teaspoon of olive oil inside the bowl and flopped in the dough, then covered it with some plastic wrap. I left it for about a couple of hours.

Two hours later I punched down the puffy dough with my flour covered hands and took the dough to my clean kitchen counter. The counter has 1/4 cup of flour on it and I knead the dough with my hands for about 10 minutes, adding extra flour to make kneading easier. I then cut the dough into quarters, flattened the chunks until the circle measured about 5 to 6 inches across. With plenty of flour on both sides of the circles I let them rest for another 30 minutes. 

Pre heat the oven to 500 fahrenheit and spend the next 30 minutes scrapping up all of the leftover flour, washing the mixing bowl, putting away the mixer, wondering why the devil I just don’t buy bread like normal people, and why I didn’t start the clean up two and a half hours earlier. I calm down and put the circles on a baking sheet and put it in the oven. 

Cooking takes about 10 to 15 minutes. The loaves puff up and turn golden brown. I flip them over so they turn colour some more after the tops look golden. Take the beauties out of the oven and let them cool. But I usually tear into the first victim armed with butter. It was so delicious it brought tears to my eyes!

And they make excellent rolls for a hearty lunch. 

I split the dough into 4 large 5 inch or so in diameter and that makes rather puffy loaves. You can make one large flat loaf, or split the dough into 6s or 8s and stretch the dough into thinner circles. I wouldn’t try using this recipe for a traditional bread loaf because the density makes the bread rather chewy. Think jaw cramping. But damn tasty!